Federal Election Commissioner Ellen Weintraub, appearing on HuffPost Live Monday, expressed frustration that the FEC considers corporations people, but doesn't consider FEC commissioners people.
Weintraub and FEC Chairman Ann Ravel, both Democrats on the panel that often deadlocks 3-3, made history this month, when they petitioned their own commission to enforce campaign finance rules during the 2016 election cycle.
However, when Weintraub and Ravel brought up their petition during an FEC meeting last week, they were told they can’t appeal to their own agency because they’re not considered people.
“Our colleagues said that even though the rules say any person can file a petition, that we weren’t actually persons,” Weintraub said. “So they wouldn’t let us go forward on that.”
The rejection added another layer of disappointment for Weintraub, who has been advocating for transparent and honest political donations. Campaigns have been flooded with donations since the Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling, which essentially says corporations have a right to spend money freely on elections -- the same as people.
Weintraub and Ravel created the petition because the FEC's deadlock prevents them from cracking down on campaign finance abuses.
“If you ask me, it’s in part a structural problem that we have three Democrats and three Republicans and we have very different ideas of what the law ought to be,” Weintraub explained. “We are not doing an effective job as a result of enforcing the laws that are already on the books, in my opinion. We have a number of 3-3 decisions that have been coming down in recent years, we have been unable to get common sense regulations written that would address concerns that people have out in the real world about how elections are being run.”
Watch Weintraub's comments in the video above.